Skies

Chasing the western skies
We dance atop the clouds
Each one listning to lies

Like bugs attracted fluorescence
Every one hopelessly absorbed
Made to think that gives essence

Every day we see into others lives
Masquerades as entertainment
Instead those strings need scythes

When again can we stare
Out the window of our souls
A beautiful world to be aware

Chasing the western skies
We sway with the spin of earth
Dancing as mendacity dies

Predator

They smelled blood in the water
They teemed and writhed in crimson
Ripping flesh and crushing bone

Helpless and life fading
A friend thought him worth saving
Into the fray with kicks
His only weapon splayed

A friend lost a limb
Life still beat in his chest
Drug to the shore red came
A bystanders belt blood staved

Sharks in the water move on
Their fins slip below the surface
Predators with food to prey upon
Searching for the scent of disgrace

Dreams

They’re crazy those dreams
I don’t plan them
All of a sudden I’m in a better world
My mind is transformed to think it’s real
Until my eyes open to the light
And consciousness steals

It’s a dream maybe of hope
Of a adventurous plan
Something that hasn’t happened
What a stark reality intake up to
Wanting to stay in the dream
And not leave without you

Maybe it’s learning to wake up
Facing the day again
A time to mature and grow
Keep changing to who I need to be
Its hard alone when you’re gone
But there is a goal I wake up to see

When one has lost and still desires
Maybe these wires get crossed
The past and future collide
Dreams make the best of reality
And mercifully give credence
To the One who gives hope I can see

A dynamic system

Everything in the universe moves relative to everything else. The sun is no more fixed in space than the earth is.

This quote has more implications for life and thinking than just a scientific statement. It has vast social implications as well. Let me explain.

The world is complicated and dynamic. Political policies change, leaders change, countries change, and nothing remains fixed. Our thinking and policy making remains stuck in the same thinking as the earth is flat and the sun is stationary. How so? We bank on one leader, one country, and are set ablaze by one situation when we fail to see there are many dynamics occurring in a given situation. We don’t try to see the rest of the dynamics in play, and our emotions get in the way as well. We see one facet of truth.

People aren’t stationary, just like the universe. They are also complicated and dynamic. Yet, they are still people and that is the constant. Just as the stars are the stars. Yet, we also move in relation to one another. A political move is made, and counter move is put in action. This dynamic is in Israel, American politics, and worldwide politics. One unfortunate common theme is in place. Instead of knowing most of the reason (formulas, the why) behind the movement and undulation, we don’t. We know why the stars and universe moves in relation to other objects. It is gravity and mathematics, to put it simply.

In politics, however, there is no such simple answer. The entire truth cannot be known about any given situation because it is a card held against the chest to be played later. Sometimes it’s burned or hidden so that people cannot discover its meaning. This cardplay will be the downfall of politics and humanity. Truth withheld, even difficult truth, is the beginning of deception for selfish gain. Most wars are fought on this progression. Truth withheld, covered up, not given/allowed press, etc. makes navigating a complicated situation like handling Russia, China, North Korea, and Israel impossibly difficult. Truth is the power play and trump card, and those who brandish it use it as a sword to slay their enemies. The play and counterplay happen frequently. The US came into Iraq declaring that there were WMDs to be taken care of. No WMDs were found.

There is an instigator on either side of the fence who polarises the masses while those with a wholistic moderate view are generally marginalized. They are seen as weak or untrustworthy because they don’t swing to a particular party. At the least, they won’t get the support of either party because they don’t align enough with either, even though their thoughts and politics are solid. It is more about aligning with a party rather than bettering the country, speaking of US politics.

Credibility is a resource to be coveted. Regimes fall or are taken out based on this. Why is Edward Snowden so powerful? He owns truth. Why is cyberwarfare so dangerous? Truth can be uncovered and taken away. With such a powerful resource, all we do is protect it with lies. What a terrible barricade at the least, and a crippling foundation at the most.

How can we make informed decisions with the world the way it is? Search out truth. A lot of the time, you cannot find it in a politician. Where you can find a better resource is history, studying cultures, studying religions, and becoming acquainted with truth. We are in an age when we’ve been given unprecedented access to be able to know truth. We have powerful research tools at our fingertips, but we don’t use them. A people ignorant of truth is the easiest to manipulate in the free world. Citizens controlled by out of control emotions can be played to vote to suit the gains of those at the top. Don’t be a sheep and get eaten by a wolf because you don’t know what one looks like. Study them and know their eating habits so you won’t be mauled when one comes into your midst.

Just some thoughts about how truth plays in our world today. Thoughts are welcome. How has truth (or the lack of it) affected your view of politicians and countries involved? How has truth affected your life? Has it helped you see complex dynamics in a social system?

Loneliness

Loneliness.

The word alone dictates feelings of lack and of fear. Lack of people, lack of those who understand, lack of someone who loves you for who you are, etc. Fear goes hand in hand with this word. There is a fear that no one will be able to empathize with what you’re going through. The thought of never having someone to be by your side through thick and thin is daunting. Being alone in the wilderness with no one to talk to forces you to wrestle with the demons within yourself.

Loneliness drives people to do anything to fill their perceived and real voids. Men and women hop from relationship to relationship, even the unhealthy ones just so they aren’t alone. We spend our time attached to our phones, social media, or in public places to avoid lack of interaction. Sometimes we go to extreme measures to seek those who just might understand. Many times, those same people end up being the ones that control and manipulate someone who they know is vulnerable. In the end, we end up more wounded than before.

While I’ve been in Canada (as of July) loneliness has been the feeling I’ve been accustomed to the most. It pervades my lifestyle. I’m always moving, traveling, changing people with whom I interact, and staying in many different places. To give an example, since February I’ve been to six different worksites across the province. Hopefully this will calm down somewhat and I’ll rotate between two sites every week, but still a lot of moving. Even being an TCK, I’m used to at least having someone close to me close by. Whether it’s a close friend or immediate family, someone was always there. Up here, they are much farther. If it’s in Canada, it’s Calgary, at least three hours away. The US, as you can imagine is much further with a couple of time zones.

I’ve struggled knowing every night the only person I come back to is myself. Never have I found myself very interesting. What I did find was I had demons to wrestle with, a recently ended long-term relationship, and I had to come to terms being starkly alone. It frustrated me. All I wanted was to be with people, and for good reason. I needed to be edified, needed their companionship, and wanted growth. I craved immediate satisfaction in having someone who understood me. Having none of that, there were only a few choices I could make. Apathy was a major danger for me, and the biggest battle I fought. I could distract myself endlessly. Another was completely changing who I was, so I was no different. That meant many things, of which none were acceptable. Lastly, I could remain myself and grow.

Growing is painful. Being the last choice, it was the last one I came to in my process. Facing being alone and being positive about it seem like contradictory choices. It is, however, what God has worked in me. Being upbeat about the whole thing has made it not only bearable, but good. I cannot fathom suffering alone while resenting it. Bitterness would seep into my bones.

I’ve come to enjoy the solitude. I know that this time is good for me to learn. To think. To write. To make the most of my interaction. To be who I am. I still don’t like it all the time. I get much more excited than normal to visit my friends. I still desire companionship. It’s a period of waiting, and there is nothing wrong with that. There are times and periods in one’s life that look like a hellish desert. The oasis is found when Christ is the sustenance that carries you through. To expound, laying your foundation on His truth will make or break you. When you’re alone looking out into the glittering universe, you wonder of your significance. Knowing God loves you gives you a place, because He made it for you. God did something very intentional so that no matter how alone we are, He is always in reach. He is always present, and loves His redeemed.

This has been my experience so far as I’ve walked the path of loneliness. I’m still processing it, so this is just reflective of my experience. Which leads me to the question: What has your experience been? How have you dealt with it? Maybe we can learn a few things from each other.

Success

I’ve had several conversations about where life is going, what we’re doing for careers, and what our dreams are. These conversations have been roughly the same for me since graduating college. My ultimate answer is, I don’t know. I’m doing many things in the meantime to try to advance any semblance of a career, but where I want to go and what I want to be is far from me.

There are things yes, I dream about. I dream of having an impact on the world and those around me. I dream of making a difference in each person I meet. I dream of eventually being a loving husband and father. I dream of being successful, whatever that means. I dream of working hard, and being good at whatever I do.

The problem is, none of that gets you a good job. My degree hasn’t done that yet. I’ve not been able to find a job where I can use my degree in a related field. Some would say because I’ve not succeeded in getting a job with my degree that I’m a failure, or a lazy bum. The stigmas that go along with not having a “professional” job or career are endless, and being in the construction industry has its own as well. In a performance driven society, we are looked on with pity as failures. At the least they are kind enough to say we aren’t trying hard enough (I hope you get the irony in this).

When it comes to family, your life is made worse because well meaning parents (in-laws, significant others parents) drive their perspective of success into our brains. They say that we have to have a job that turns into a career. When we’ve been stuck in a dead-end retail job, they worry we have become complacent and lazy when we’re working our tails off to live up to their definition of what life should be. I’ve worked fast food, retail, and now I’m surveying in the construction business. I cannot get a good job (or a job at all) based on my well-wished dreams of being involved with people and loving on them.

What I can do is use whatever job I do have to fulfill those goals and dreams I have. It is not lazy to work as hard as I can to be as good as I can be at the career I’m in. That might not land me the sweet job everyone else dreams about, but I can be satisfied knowing I’ve made an impact where I’m at. Having an attitude like this also greatly increases our happiness. Stress is lessened, because always floundering with what career to pick to gain favor in someone else’s eyes is exhausting. Will we like it? Can we do that for the rest of our lives? We make to big of a deal out of those things. We need to do the job that pays the bills and puts food on the table. Having a magnanimous career might not happen, but we can be satisfied that we are making the most out of what we have.

Forever dreaming about what we don’t have will always lead to dissatisfaction, anger, depression, and feelings of inferiority when it comes to our career. Our peers have started their careers, and are enjoying them. Reality is, some God has given those great jobs to, and good on them. For some of us, God has given the flexibility to work whatever job we need to. It means we can be a light and influence in more places, and we have the chance to gain broader experiences. It’s not a license to be lazy, far from that. Rather it’s permission to be the best in any given situation.

Success isn’t having that shiny career with the pension at the end of 20 years time. Success is making the best of the tools God has given you, and glorifying Him through that. We have to stop seeing it as more money, or a higher position, or more prestige in the professional community. In the end, no one will remember you were a manager making so much money for this prestigious company. What they will remember is who you were to them at work, at home, and at play. How you gave your time to them and loved on them will be how they see you. Don’t build your kingdom with what will just burn away in a fire, but make it into something that will last and stand the test of time.

To my future wife

Hey babe,

I want to tell you a few things before we meet, if we do. I want to say that even though I have a deep longing to meet you one day, I’m also content to speed on the path God has me on. What that path is, who knows. I do know God is in control of this ordered chaos we call life. I’m glad for that. Let me tell you a little about me. I’m a mess. I’m far from the perfect man you imagine me to be.

I grew up in Africa, in the poorest country in the world called Niger. I played in the sand, got dirty, and lived a boy’s dream. I went to a good school, and made many lifelong friends there. As with many TCKs (third culture kid), we come back to our home country. For my preference, it was too soon. I had so many friends and things to do. But I adjusted to Jr. High and High school in the US. I spent many nights missing my friends and frustrated that this wasn’t really “home” to me. Mine was in the desert.

My life went on, I went to college. I lived at a wonderful placed called Paradise Mountain. It’s housing for TCKs like me, funded completely by donations. The problem was, I didn’t feel like I completely fit in there, and neither did I feel like I did with others on campus (to no one’s fault). I have lived a life placed between worlds and never belonging completely to one or the other. College was a wonderful experience that I would never change, and my best memories were made with dear friends. But there I sat, in another world where I didn’t quite fit in.

I’m an American who grew up in Africa, then lived in America, grew to love Jesus, moved to Canada (I’m a halfie), and work construction as a surveyor with many who don’t know Jesus. I belong because of my profession, but I live very differently than most here. Yet I interact and build friendships every day. As I keep going, I hope you can see that I am a man between worlds. In all of this, it reminds me constantly that I have a heavenly home and I don’t quite belong here on earth. To understand me, to understand why I live so free, understand this. It is why I go to great lengths to see a friend and spend time with them. Who knows when I’ll see them again? Why not make the effort to invest what I can while I have the chance? It is so much fun.

Growing up in the desert, and growing up in the woods of Tennessee have forged me into who I am. I regret none of it and frankly I am blessed to have such a life as this.

I grew up knowing about Jesus, but He wasn’t at the forefront of my life. At the end of my Jr. year of high school that changed. Some friends brought me to a good youth group, and God met me there. I got into a wonderful Bible study and was mentored by a great man of God. He’s since passed, but He gave me so much spiritual wisdom. College was wonderful for my spiritual formation as well. A lot of those lessons I learned the hard way, and God was good in those times of learning.

Since college I’ve worked at a fast food place in Tennessee, and at Target in Georgia. Both were good experiences and I put my all into them. While I was in GA I dated and got engaged to a girl there. It didn’t work out, and those details I can tell you in person one day when we meet. Open letters aren’t good for those sorts of things, you know.

Now I find myself living in Alberta working in the oil patch as a surveyor. I like the work, but it’s a lonely walk. See, I work for two to three weeks up north. Not only have I left my friends and family in the US, but also my friends and family that have become dear to me here as well. Back to my life of always leaving and being stuck in between.

God has been so good in all of this. I knew moving would bring a desert season, and I just imagined it as a time of dryness. A time of thirst, a time of baking in the sun, a time of desperately searching for an oasis. As I’ve become accustomed to the sand blowing in my eyes and the feel of the dunes under my toes I’m realizing something. God has brought me back home, to my desert. The place where I played in the sand so much it now runs in my blood (that’s what I tell my African friends — the sand is in my blood). I can’t help but return here. God has been working, with sand blowing and whittling away the ruins of past memories. He’s allowed me to take lessons from those crumbling stones, and put those into action surviving where I am now.

As I said before, He’s given me a blessed life. My goal is to make the most of it, even if I have no idea where I’ll end up or how I’ll be serving Him in the coming years.

So I have some prayers for you, whoever you may be. These prayers will continue and multiply as we grow together.

I pray that you can become content (not apathetic) with who God has made you to be. Your beauty, your gifts and talents, and your place in life. I know it’s tough, believe me. I’m in this process too (no beauty for me though!). I want you to be able to make the most of the seasons you’re in.

I pray that you can see God is in control and sovereign, because whether we live in a mansion or a hut in Africa we must strive to glorify Him.

I pray that you don’t obsess over me in your prayers, because there is so much more to this world than me babe. God has me taken care of, so focus your energy on serving Him.

I pray that you won’t expect yourself to be perfect. We’re humans who are all in process. God gets the glory as we are sanctified by Him. We’ll do that together, hand in hand.

I pray you are a woman between worlds. Maybe it’ll be the jungle. Maybe it’ll be the ocean. Maybe it’ll be a small town. Whatever is your desert, let it remind you you’re not quite home yet.

I pray that your character will grow, and that your beauty will shine from it. As you grow closer to Jesus, so will the fruit you bear from Him increase.

I pray that you can have the grace to deal with me, a messy human being.

I pray above all, even me, you love Jesus. This is the single most important thing to me. This tempers your life and mine. This is the life we are called to live.

Well, it’s getting late. I’m off to sleep, but I hope you’re having a splendid night wherever you are.

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.
–Isaiah 35:1

Until then,

I love you.

–Kurt

Words

Wrote this after wanting to take a macro of a pen… and I figured it would be cool to have something to highlight it. I suppose I got carried away with my pen. Oh well. Here it is:

Words on a page
Do they blend together
Do they separate into blooms
Tingling ones’s soul to life

Do they wage war on vanity
Or in a splash of ink wasted
On social media’s righteous war
Bent on settling agenda’s score

Do they speak of beautiful seasons
Of the golden hues of fall
Of the crunch of snow beneath your boots
Words have entranced me in other worlds

Do the worlds you create in anger
Do they still allow others to flourish
Do they simply let them drown in your tyranny
Do they create a world of balanced symmetry

Words on a page say many things
Do they say something worth while
For a laugh for challenge for good
I write, leaving you words on a page.

Conviction

Hey love
I have something
Something to tell you
Truth must be told
About how my love grew

I want you to know
The promises I’ve sewn
Not empty words and sounds
In love they know no bounds

It’s something different from the rest
Not shallowness that fails the test
Hook up culture and it’s lies
I believed in establishing ties

I believe in commitment
As a gift that’s heaven sent
Cherishing you when you don’t
Encouraging you when you can’t

You’re not my addiction
Babe you’re my conviction
To have and to hold
Always as we grow old

Written to noone. I don’t think this expresses my thoughts completely. I’m tired of music that emphasizes the emotional crazed (really, crazed) state of relationships. Few songs focus on a deep, committed, and pure love for a spouse.

A lot of it sounds like a cat call (or just about wanting to get laid), instead of something genuine coming from the heart. Maybe I’ll add to this one day when I’m not sleepy anymore. My thought process started with the last verse, so we shall see what happens with it! Until then, peace.

Mud

I wake up
I can’t breathe
It’s dark
Move?
Yeah right
I feel dirty
I’m wet
And I smell something earthy

I make a lot of effort
Rolling over I see a man
Blue sky behind, face hidden
I still feel dirty, and wet
I realize I smell too

I manage to sit up
From blue sky
And a shadow of a man
My eyes drift down
All I see is dark brown

My hope of getting out
It’s gone
I flop back down exhausted
I’m dirty anyway
I don’t want to be clean

Something catches my eye
Part of my sleeve
It’s a little lighter
My robes were lighter
Not this smelly earthy color

As I sit I think
Why is this man here?
I’m smelling awful
Stains permeate me
Mud cleaves to my soul

His eyes look through me
No, I suppose into me
It’s unsettling
But also a relief
He sees my dirt

Eyes kind and firm
Hands rough and strong
An expression of passion
Who is this man?
Why is he here?

He tells me to take it
To take his hand
I’m worried
Worried I’ll pull him in
He has white robes

He says not to worry
He was made dirty
Already smelled earthy
He did it for me
He loves me

I swallow
And take his hand
Such strength
The air smells clean
It feels good to be upright

Something surprises me
He hands me a robe
Tells me I’m clean
I’m in wonder
I just took his hand